Ivanov: "Germany is Russia's key economic partner in the European Union"

Interstate consultations, to be held in St. Petersburg, will become an important stage in relations between Germany and Russia, believes Russian Security Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov. He said this in the Kremlin after meeting German foreign minister Joschka Fischer. During the meeting, the sides focused on the preparation of a summit meeting between Russian president Vladimir Putin and FRG chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, to be held in St. Petersburg early in April. The most important thing, according to Ivanov, is that meetings at a ministerial level with members of the public, economic executives and cultural figures will be held simultaneously with the summit. "Germany is Russia's key economic partner in the European Union," he stressed. In his opinion, last year both sides made progress in imparting a new quality to their relations, RIA Novosti reports. This "opens up additional opportunities for our co-operation in the issues of security, stability and disarmament," he noted.